I have been a fond user of Google translate for some time, it’s good enough to understand the main points. For example, thanks to gTranslate I was able to detect and correct the manipulating interview I got form a Danish newspaper.
I just realised 2 dramatic upgrades (new for me):
– a firefox button that automatically translates any page you’re viewing in your language.
– embedding the translator into GReader (clicking on feedsettings): this is dramatic because it enables conversations to happen between people speaking different languages! This removes an important barrier to circulation of knowledge, especially tacit knowledge. The impact on innovation and learning, can be outstanding, especially in Europe where it is still very difficult to learn from each other.
These are incremental innovation, from the point of view of technology. They mainly make GTranslate more USABLE.
But we know the dramatic impact of usability. I alwasy repeat the same anecdote: when I asked Tom Steinberg what was new about MySociety projects with respect to traditional e-democracy projects, he answered usability and flexibility.
The history of innovation teaches us that Incremental innovations can have a disruptive impact, often more then radical innovation.
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